THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | Alpha and Omega: The Light in the Abyss

Standing beneath McGraw Tower at midnight is akin to experiencing the prolonged death throes of an eternity. Every day becomes as the instar of all time en miniature. Sunrise came today at 7:16, and sunset came at 16:34. Every passing minute sends another crumpled leaf falling in a perishing semicircle; long-since dead, each has now given up clinging to even a semblance of its former life. The flood of light at the sun’s rising and the onset of twilight mimic the life-story of the universe as a whole, the first inklings of energy stretching the cosmic fabric outward, and, having vented their smoldering fury to the point of exhaustion, their eventual extinguishment.


“πάθει μάθος.” -Derived from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. Refers to learning gained through adversary. -To the memory of the German martyrs-

Orthodoxy, ὀρθός, “correct, upright, decent,” + δόξᾰ, “opinion.” The opinion which an upright person holds. One may be forgiven for chafing under the presupposed weight of an “orthodox” opinion; after all, in some quarters, it is held to be an act of the highest arrogance to dub one opinion more correct than another. I am not of that persuasion.

SUNSPOTS’ IN ANOTHER TONGUE | Der Heidnische Christus

By virtue of the quality of the education we as Cornellians receive, our university is a profoundly international community, attracting students and faculty from around the globe. Step outside Olin Library, or keep your ears pealed in a dining hall, and you are guaranteed to hear good-natured chatter between friends and family in a language totally unfamiliar to you. Our current political climate might suggest that this is a weakness, but it is the total opposite. In our academic city on a hill, though English is the language of instruction and a requirement for admission, knowledge of another language, and the lived wisdom which comes with that knowledge, are a source of joy and admiration. To celebrate the depth, vivacity, and color of Cornell itself, we at Sunspots have undertaken to offer an outlet for those wishing to publish in languages other than English.

THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | Fimbulwinter: Tyr’s Wager, Part I

“ᛏ Týr er einhendr áss
ok ulfs leifar
ok hofa hilmir
Mars tiggi.”

Time does not, and has never, suffered itself to be stopped on the whim of a mortal. If all mystified fatalism, be it twine-snipping hags at the base of the world-tree and the general stuff of soothsayers, has been stripped from our cold-fact cosmology, this central fact has never been, and almost certainly never shall, be doubted. The date of a man’s birth and of his death may be preordained or may hang entirely on Zufall, stupidity, and other waste-products of the human psyche, but its circumstances cannot be altered in fact. “The apparition of these faces in the crowd; /
Petals on a wet black bough.” -Ezra Pound

Shortly after I was born, I, a rosy-faced eructation on Planet Earth, received the mixed blessing of being initiated into a certain Bohemian brand of Protestantism, whose believers, given the demonym “Moravians” after their hilled Czech homeland, practiced burial rites which, even in my ur-youth, I found unusual. The various other cemeteries of colonial Pennsylvania ranged from the solemn to the gaudy, painted, weeping Madonnas and glum little cherubs shaking their heads.

THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | Fimbulwinter: The Rhein’s Fury Part II

“Jezt aber, drinn im Gebirg,

Tief unter den silbernen Gipeln,

Und unter fröhlichem Grün,

Wo die Wälder schauernd zu ihm,

Und der Felsen Häupter übereinander

Hinabschaun, taglang, dort

Im kältesten Abgrund hört’

Ich um Erlösung jammern

Den Jüngling, es hörten ihn, wie er tobt’,

Und die Mutter Erd’ anklagt’,

Und den Donnerer, der ihn gezeuget,

Erbarmend die Eltern, doch

Die Sterblichen flohn von dem Ort,

Denn furchtbar war, da lichtlos er

In den Fesseln sich wälzte,

Das Rasen des Halbgotts.”

“Yet now, in the mountains,

Deep beneath the silvery summits,

And beneath the merry Greenness,

Where the woods shudder to him,

And the rock heads gaze down over one another

Upon him, the whole day long, there

In the coldest Abyss heard I

The youth groaning for salvation;

They heard him, how he blustered,

And railed at Mother Earth,

And the Thunderer, who begat him,

The parents pitying; yet

Mortals fled the place,

For it was dreadful, since he, lightless,

Tossed about in his chains:

the rage of the Demigod.” (Friedrich Hölderlin, “Der Rhein,” p.t.)

Youth’s high-esteemed vitality, grace in form, and strong, prattling innocence have as their all-too-easy obverses its seething rage, misdirection, and choking, desperate thirst for the authority. The last failing, the outcome is violence. The stuffy back-closet of psychoanalysis has already vomited forth a whole host of “complexes” in the past century to attempt to explain the nebulous workings of the psyche. Jung may find his panacea in dream-analysis, in analyzing anecdotes of young men having their genitals bitten by snakes, and Freud may trawl the muck of the Archaic Greek mythos in search of a new name for the desire to bed one’s twice-removed cousin on the full moon in October. It is all, in truth, quite simpler than that.